Paul Allen donates $40 million to UW computer science department

SEATTLE (AP) — Microsoft co-founder and philanthropist Paul Allen has announced he is giving $40 million to the University of Washington's computer-science department.

The Seattle billionaire made the announcement Thursday, The Seattle Times reported ( Microsoft is giving another $10 million in Allen's honor.

In response, the UW Board of Regents on Thursday raised the computer-science department to the status of a school, and named it the Paul G. Allen School for Computer Science & Engineering.

Allen told the newspaper the money would give the university "more resources, and scope, and ability to grow and keep up its climb to the top ranks of computer science" among the nation's universities.

The money will provide the school with $2 million a year in seed funding for new initiatives, which could be used for funding of early stage research, developing new experimental-education initiatives, providing equipment that can't be purchased through other means, or funding fellowships or scholarships to recruit outstanding students.

UW President Ana Mari Cauce said the donation from Allen "is tremendous generosity — but also, his name carries weight" in the computer science world.

Having the school named after Allen will be a point of pride for faculty and students alike, she said. "It's a department that's been doing really well, but this will take it to a whole different level," she said.

The announcement about the Allen and Microsoft donations and the new school is being made in concert with the 50th anniversary of computer science at the university.

Allen said he's focused much of his philanthropy on Seattle in large part because of his mother, Faye, who often talked about the importance of giving back to the community. She died in 2012.